The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of the New York Road Runners.
In 2010, I decided to try my hand at entering the lottery for the New York City Marathon. I had heard plenty of people talk about the race and how difficult it was to get in, but I figured, whats the worst that could happen. A few short months later, I logged into my profile and saw one word that definitely changed my running life forever: “Accepted”.
I started training in the summer months, which was a challenge in itself. Sure, summer running is tough, but just come to Florida and give it a try. At times, it can be down right miserable. Waking up at 4:30 am before a full 9 hour work day became the new norm. I had one goal in my mind – kicking ass in NYC.
Before marathon weekend, I had never made it up to the Big Apple. Since the race, I still haven’t been back. The only vision I have of New York City is running through the 5 boroughs back in November of 2010. What a race it truly was!
The race starts later than any other one I have ever ran in the past, and yet, I was still up long before dawn. If I remember correctly, my start time was around 10:15 or so, and I remember having to be there around 3 hours before my wave. It starts in Staten Island, so everyone is required to get there with plenty of time to spare. I had plenty of throw away clothes with me, a trash bag to sit on the cold ground (it was in the 30’s that morning!), and plenty of fuel to power me before and during the race. I found a comfy place to sit and just chatted with the other runners around me – the energy was contagious!
Once it was time for my wave, I made it to my corral pretty quick, and then listened to something which brought such a smile to my face – Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York. It is hard to even explain that moment, but it was truly special. I was getting ready to run my biggest marathon ever, after months of grueling training, in one of the most renowned cities in the world. It was unreal.
Heading over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge at the start into Brooklyn was a very neat moment. All you could hear were the pitter patter of runners’ feet beside you, along with the puttering of helicopters above, taking in the massive crowds. There were no spectators, no volunteers, just all of us embarking on the same 26.2 mile journey. We could see the entire skyline from the bridge – for a NYC newbie, this was an amazing experience.
Once we got off the bridge and into Brooklyn, it was all screams and cheers from there on out. I was shocked by the amount of people lining the streets. It wasn’t just a few people here or there, it was hoards of people, 3, 4, 5, people deep. The entire way! I had run much smaller races before and had experience nothing like this. It was a natural high I just couldn’t get enough of!
Brooklyn was the first place I caught a glimpse of Marcus and my sister, Emily. We agreed for them to always be on the left side, and decided on a few points as to where I could look for them. They had a couple of signs so I would know where they were, and I was able to catch them each and every time! We really weren’t sure how it would go since there were so many runners and so many spectators, but we made it work. They even made a little guide for all the spectators out there – check it out!
After Brooklyn, we headed into Queens, the Bronx, and then finally Manhattan. My lack of hill training started to become apparent as I reached about the mile 22 mark. The tiny rolling hills were killing me at that point, and I knew finishing was my only goal – not a certain time. I did my best to keep a positive attitude and just keep looking around. There was so much to take in – I was running through all the amazing parts of New York City!
I remember crossing the finish line after running through the rolling hills of Central Park and never having felt so relieved! The last couple of miles were brutal, but worth every step. At first, I swore off marathons for a solid hour. Then, of course, my thoughts completely flipped and I was on Cloud 9. Where would my next race be and how could I get faster between now and then? Such crazy runner talk I meandered through the crowds and finally caught up with my support team – the best a girl could ask for!
There are so many amazing races throughout the world. How on Earth do you choose which one to dedicate months of training to? If the TCS New York Marathon isn’t on your bucket list, I strongly suggest you add it! It is truly a world-renowned event that ever marathoner should have the privilege in participating in at least once. I can not wait to have the opportunity to run it again!
Luckily, the lottery is still open for the 2014 race! You have until March 18, 2014 to submit your entry! Even better, there are 6 weekly sweepstakes drawings that pull (1) winner from each of the 5 boroughs and 5 National and International runners from the Marathon Applicant database. Each winner will win a non complimentary, guaranteed entry (yes, you get the entry but still have to pay) into the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon. Drawings will be held each Monday (including today!), through March 10th.
There is also a Twitter chat, this Thursday February 6th at 9pm EST. Follow the hashtag #TCSNYCMarathonApply for a Q&A with Coach John Honerkamp. Coach Honerkamp has a few very notable accolades, including:
- Completing the 2010 NYC Marathon in 2:44:22
- Pacing Apollo Ohno and Summer Sanders to their fantastic marathon finishes
- His personal bests include 1:47.26 (800 meters), 3:41.58 (1500 meters), and 4:01.30 (one mile)
Have you ever ran the NYC Marathon? It is on our bucket list, or are you adding it now?!